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Posts Tagged ‘Karen Sperling

Book Review: Karen Sperling’s Painting for Photographers

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finalbookportrait

Karen Sperling's Painting for Photographers. Cover painting and design by Karen Sperling from a photo by Felicia Tausig.

Karen Sperling’s Painting for Photographers; Steps and Art Lessons for Painting Photos in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop, (ISBN: 978-0-9818163-0-2) is being released by Artistry Books in multiple formats, including an autographed hardcover edition, complete with a CD of source photos to use with the tutorials, bonus tutorials and brushes, and a 10% donation to charity for $149.95; print on demand softcover edition with downloadable source photos for $85.95; regular softcover edition with downloadable source photos for $39.95; and an e-book with source photos accessible from within the digital edition for $35.95. The author is the founder of Artistry Tips and Tricks, a website that educates photographers by providing tips and techniques for creating painterly images from digital photographs. She was also the author of the first manuals on Corel Painter and has penned several other Painter books as well.

Sperling uses numerous examples to illustrate the techniques including many by other photographers as before images, with her painted version as the finished images. The inclusion of the before and after images is extremely helpful, so the reader can see and fully understand the techniques that are being explained.

Sperling offers a wide range of tips and tricks, for portraits (including people and pets) and landscapes, in addition to more general techniques. This is an important focus as many professional photographers will likely be turning portraits taken of clients into paintings. For the fine-art photographer, landscapes are an important subject to tackle, and techniques for these images are also discussed in detail.

The author begins the volume with a quote by Andrew Carnegie, “If you think you can do something, you probably can.” Sperling explains that painting is 90% thought and 10% execution.

The book offers an introduction to art concepts, which is important for the photographer who may not have taken art classes in the course of their schooling; something that really is necessary to know to turn a photograph into a painting without having it look like you just ran it through a filter or plug-in in Photoshop. Such art concepts include understanding color harmony and tonal ranges.

Sperling also explains how to turn a photo into a painting. She discusses what types of images make great starting points, how to choose an image to take further; and how you can take the best parts of an image or images, while leaving out distracting elements—turning ordinary images into extraordinary pieces of art.

An entire chapter is spent on portraits, detailing body parts and how the different types of painting, acrylic, oils, watercolor, airbrush, etc. vary the look of an image. Another really helpful part of the book is the inclusion of examples from some of the portrait-painting masters, such as Degas, Rembrandt, and others.

Sperling follows a similar tone with the Landscape chapter, showing examples of how different styles of painting can alter the look of an image.

The chapter on pets is segmented into sections focusing on cats, dogs, and horses—which is helpful, as these are the more common animals that photographers will likely be working with.

The author explains the various tools that Corel’s Painter program offers users. She also explains the powerful tools that Photoshop offers the digital imager who wants to use that program. Sperling also includes shortcuts, including explaining the benefits of utilizing a Wacom pen and tablet in turning a photo into a painting because of the added control offered by the device.

Sperling completes the book with a discussion of over-painting techniques and the supplies needed to do so. Over-painting is the technique of painting with acrylic or oil paints on top of the canvas that the image has been printed upon. It is becoming a popular technique and adds an extra quality of uniqueness to images that receive this treatment.

Sperling notes that she finds painting both on the computer and with traditional paint to be more about confidence and suggests that if the reader practices and familiarizes themselves with the materials and techniques used, they’ll be more comfortable in working with these varied media. Sperling closes by bringing the reader back to her opening sentiment that, “If you think you can, you probably can.”

Creating painterly art from photographs is ideal for the professional photographer, who can use this to add a new dimension to their studio’s offerings. The guidance and education in Karen Sperling’s Painting for Photographers takes the intimidation out of turning photographs into painted masterpieces.

Check out Karen Sperling’s website at www.karensperling.com to see examples of her work. Go to www.artistrymag.com for Sperling’s Painter tutorial site.

— Diane Berkenfeld

Why Photographers Need to Stay in School

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I want to quote part of an article entitled Education Never Stops by Skip Cohen, president of Marketing Essentials International, that was printed in the June 2009 issue of Rangefinder Magazine.

“‘Years ago at a Nick Vedros seminar, I sat down next to Don Blair, who was 71 years old at the time and still recognized as one of the leading portrait photographers in America. I was shocked to notice Don feverishly taking notes on some of Nick’s lighting techniques. ‘Don’t you know this stuff already?’ I teased. ‘Are you kidding?’ he said, ‘This guy is giving me a ton of new ideas!’”

Wow. I knew what a wonderful teacher, mentor, and inspiration “Big Daddy”♦ a.k.a. Don Blair has been to hundreds, probably thousands of photographers in his career but I hadn’t assumed he attended the classes given by others. I figured, when you got to the pinnacle of your career you never looked back. I was wrong.

What amazes me then, is, if such a photographic icon as Don Blair realized at the age of 71 that he would benefit by continuing his education—then why don’t pros half his age (at that time) realize this?

I can’t tell you how many photographers I’ve met who think they know it all, who think there’s nothing left for them to learn, who think themselves above their peers.

Till the day you die, you’ll find yourself presented with new things you never knew before—business and marketing tips, capture and post production techniques. Only you can decide you want to refine your vision, re-craft your techniques, renew your enthusiasm for photography—by educating yourself. Whether it’s self-exploration or seminars and workshops—even opening a book and trying what you’ve read—all of these things can and will lead you to become a better photographer or a better businessman or woman.

There are a wonderful myriad of educational opportunities… just look at some that I’ve come across:

  • Long Island Photo Workshop – August 3-6, 2009 – Smithtown, NY – Instructors are Vincent Versace, Dave Black, Gary Small, Fay Sirkis, Janice Wendt, and Hanson Fong – www.liphotoworkshop.com.
  • Skip’s Summer School – August 16-19, 2009 – Las Vegas, NV – Instructors are Bambi Cantrell, Skip Cohen, Tony Corbell, Ron Dawson, Robert Evans, Jim Garner, Jerry Gihonis, Mitche Graf, Matt Hill, Kevin Kubota, Charles and Jennifer Maring, Dane Sanders, and Ken Sklute – www.mei500.com.
  • There are dozens of PPA affiliated workshops and one day seminars offered throughout the year. Check the website at www.ppa.com for more.
  • Renegade Photo Shoots are unique and different Photo Edu-Experiences. Recent Renegade Shoots earlier this year included City Shoots, Shoot with the Stars, Sip and Shoot – look for more events to be announced soon –  www.renegade-pr.com
  • Like to fly? Check this one out – September 27-30, 2009 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Instructors are Dirk Karsten and Chris Golson – A photo workshop set in the San Francisco Bay Area that will include a photo shoot aboard a Zeppelin in flight and trekking through an ancient cedar forest – www.chrisgolson.com/workshop
  • Sandy (Sam) Puc’ leads many workshops during the year – check her website for dates and locations – http://samspros.com
  • Eddie Tapp – Workshop in Iceland – August 16-22, 2009 – Check the website for other seminars and workshops as well – www.eddietapp.com
  • Antartica with Art Wolfe – Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2010 – Check the website for other workshops as well – www.artwolfe.com
  • Santa Fe Workshops www.santafeworkshops.com
  • Palm Beach Photographic Workshops – www.workshop.org 
  • Lepp Institue Workshops – www.leppphoto.com 
  • Maine Media Workshops – multiple dates throughout the year – www.theworkshops.com
  • Barnstorm – Eddie Adams Workshop – Oct. 9-12, 2009 – (portfolio review required to be selected to attend)www.eddieadamsworkshop.com
  • National Geographic Photography Expeditions – offered throughout the year – check website for locations around the world and dates – www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/triptypes/photography

Tradeshows that also offer educational sessions:

  • PhotoPlus Expo – October 22-24, 2009– NY, NY – www.photoplusexpo.com
  • WPPI – Mar. 4-11, 2010 – Las Vegas, NV – www.wppionline.com; and this year WPPI goes on the road to four cities throughout 2009. Check the website for exact dates.
  • Imaging USA – Jan. 10-12, 2010 – Nashville, TN – www.imagingusa.org
  • PMA – Feb. 21-23, 2010 – Anaheim, CA – www.pmai.org

Can’t afford to travel? Webinars allow you to sit at your computer and learn. Most are Free. Webinars include:

  • Webinar Wednesdays (as of this writing, dates are set for the summer) – Kevin Kubota – www.kubotaimagetools.com/webinar_schedule.html
  • The Bogen Café series of free webinars cover a variety of photographic topics. An upcoming webinar is Adventure Sports Photography: Round Table with Adventure Photographer Michael Clark – Friday, July 17, 2009, 2- 3pm EDT – www.bogenimaging.us/webinar/
  • Artistry Webinars with Corel Painter Master Karen Sperling where you learn how to turn photos into paintings using Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter – www.artistrymag.com

This is just the tip of the iceberg. My point is, whatever your photographic niche, educational opportunities abound. Open your eyes and mind and your experiences will last long after these events are over.

— Diane Berkenfeld

♦ Big Daddy was the nickname that Don Blair, who passed away a few years ago, had. He will be fondly remembered by all those, including myself, who knew and learned from him.